There is a special relationship that exists between sisters. That bond is amplified ten fold when those sisters are twins. Paige and Brooke Jones have done everything together. Sports have always been a love and passion for the Edina duo. From soccer to basketball, they competed through the years. It wasn't until middle school however that the two found their true love in the game of lacrosse.
They were standouts in the Edina program and both found themselves being nominated for the Ms. Lacrosse award in their senior years in 2011. Paige, a superstar forward who scored 70 goals her senior year and Brooke, who won the award for top goaltender in the state were both heavily recruited by women's lacrosse powerhouse Northwestern. Both elected to attend Evanston and found themselves in the middle of a National Championship team.
As I rang the doorbell, Paige, along with the family dog answered.
"I'm so sorry," said Paige. "Our dog likes to bark."
We headed to the backyard and in the process passed about a half dozen lacrosse sticks, true tools of their trade. A lacrosse net stood alone in the middle of the yard serving as the perfect target for a goal scoring sniper, and one of the best goaltenders in the state.
"Brooke will be up in a minute," said Paige. "My mom went downstairs to get her."
The two had just gotten back from their freshman year at Northwestern less than 48 hours earlier and according to Paige, the first year in college was an amazing experience. Brooke quietly joined about a minute or two later.
Both picked up the game of lacrosse in middle school and have never looked back. In the beginning, the game was difficult and like nothing they had ever done.
"At first I was horrible," said Paige. "But slowly we started playing more and more and I just started to like it a lot."
They began to see the similarities in other sports including basketball and soccer.
"In house league soccer, I always wanted to play goalie," said Brooke. "When our Lacrosse coach in middle school asked me if I wanted to try playing goalie, I was like ‘sure, I like playing goalie for soccer, why wouldn't I like it for lacrosse'. I just sort of fell in love with it."
As the years passed, the two helped put Edina lacrosse on the map. Paige scored 74 goals her junior season, then added another 70 her senior year. Brooke backstopped the team to back-to-back section championship games where they lost to eventual state champion Blake. When conversation in the house turned to college plans, there was never any real discussion about staying together, or going in a different direction.
Maybe they didn't need to talk about it, maybe they just knew.
"Mom always asked us, but we always kind of just didn't answer the question," said Paige. "When Northwestern happened and she offered both of us a position, we were both able to go to the same spot. It was just exactly what we wanted."
Paige and Brooke had watched the Wildcats for a couple of years and knew the talent, and history the program possessed.
"I remember going to the final four in 2009 and watching Northwestern beat Penn in double overtime," said Brooke. "I remember calling my mom that night and was like ‘mom, this is the best lacrosse I have ever seen, I can't imagine playing for them.'"
The dream became a reality for both and last month, the two found themselves hoisting a NCAA Division I championship trophy as the Wildcats defeated Syracuse to capture their seventh title in eight years.
"It's actually one of the happiest, most exciting, greatest experiences I have ever had in my life," said Paige. "Just being there at the game, cheering my teammates on, being a part of it after the game, the celebration, getting to take that trophy home with us on the airplane, all of it was such an outstanding experience."
It is an experience that they will share forever, knowing exactly how each other felt because they were in the moment with each other.
"While it's happening, you have your best friend right there," said Brooke. "That just makes it so much better. When we won that National Championship, the first person I ran out and hugged was Paige. It just made it ten times better."
Like many twins, their personalities are completely different, and as I found out, their personalities match the positions they play on the field.
Paige is the outgoing and talkative of the two and when she is in the room, you know it. Her offensive game is the same. She has the ability to pull you off your seat, and can flat out score.
Brooke is cool, calculated and quiet but not timid, which perfectly describes her play in net. There is no wasted movement on the field exactly the kind of player that will help Northwestern compete for more National Championships.
Brooke described her sister as a "chatty Kathy", which could make the seven hour trek from school to Edina a long journey. It couldn't be further from the truth.
"How was the drive back from Evanston," I asked.
"It was quiet, she slept and watched TV." said Brooke.
"I love watching TV," Paige chimed in.
"What is your favorite show?" I asked.
"Law and Order SVU," they replied in unison.
They are twins after all.